People talk often about staying connected through the Internet, facebook, Twitter and about a million other social media websites, as well. Connectivity is all the rage and everyone is abuzz about their so-called connections—so much so that some of our former, more intimate ways to connect have been abandoned. I’m talking about the face-to-face variety.
Earlier this week, I was reminded again about the power of books and their ability to broker friendships—talk about connecting! Upon a visit to the mother of a very dear friend, she and I began a conversation about what she was reading, and “way leads on to way,” so very soon we were both engrossed in a literary world of our own making—one that meandered around author, genre, favorite books and even about how we both appreciated the physical beauty of certain leather-bound and engraved masterpieces. But the conversation didn’t end with the books; instead, it provided the foundation upon which a new friendship was built.
Our shared knowledge of books and authors provided each other insight into each of us as individuals. Yes, my knowledge of who she was at the core was illuminated by what she read and liked. This, in turn, opened up many doors to conversations that we may have missed had it not been for our shared enthusiasm for the written word.
Our connection was made at her kitchen table—not in different cities on cold computers. I could see her smile as she talked about the books she read, and I would like to think that she saw my eyes light up as I spoke about my literary loves. Try to mirror those smiles and make that kind of eye contact on facebook! And sorry, emoticons could never replace the glistening of her smiling blue eyes.
At the beginning of my meeting with my new friend, we were mere acquaintances, only having two brief encounters and some cursory greetings; at the end of my visit, I knew I had made a deep, meaningful connection that will outlast any social media platform now in vogue.
I do not plan to disconnect from any of my online connections—no matter how cold and impersonal they may seem. I do, however, plan to visit my new friend again—to return Ahab’s Wife, have a cup of tea and to get another hug.